Educate for life
To survive we have to learn how to think differently, (re)learn how we are interconnected to the world around us.
We are not these atomistic self-interested individuals unaffected by the world but we are interdependent elements of complex systems with both ecosystem and social systems interacting, where the world is affected by us and we by it.
Everything is in a relation from the smallest particles in quantum physics to the biggest stars of relativity in astrophysics. We are both dependent on others and this planet and its position in the solar system. This interdependence was probably easier to feel and see back in the days when more of us were having physical sensations of our environment every day and maybe economic progress, propelled by simplistic economic models, has alienated us from it.
Economic models have shouted for so long that we have started to believe that we are solitary, self-interested, utility calculating, insatiable, superpowered economic cartoon human beings living and competing for never-ending resources that are there for the taking.
We could go on thinking like this but this simplistic and flawed ideas of human being and the place where live has brought us to the edge of a cliff. To avoid pushing ourselves over the edge we must reeducate. We must relearn that we human is not this simple insatiable beast but far more complex. We have to draw a more complete picture of us as human beings. A picture where we certainly can be egoistic bastards but one that also shows that we are predisposed to kindness, cooperation and caring social relations.
Textbooks have to be rewritten about the place where we live as well. Ecologists have long understood the delicate complex relations within the ecosystems where uncertainty, feedbacks and delays rule, not the simple mechanistic cause and effect and linear change. Now the rest of us, especially those of us who are economists, need to wake up out of our ecological ignorance.
To be able understand all this we have to first listen and experience how our relational world of system works and then try to learn the language of our world system to describe and share our perspective of it. This highly involves the economic textbooks. Mainstream economic language and models are an ill fit to the to the planetary limits, ecosystems and life itself and should be adjusted accordingly. For starters the economy is a subsystem of earth which means if the ecoystems/biosphere/planet cannot grow the economy cannot grow endlessly with all implications that has for us human beings.
It is not only the higher economic educational institutions that needs to change (and we really need the economists to clean up the mess their outdated view of economics has caused the earth and replace it with a new one.)
We all need this eco-literacy from a young age and if we combine it with a school environment of collective learning and a curriculum consisting of practicing and learning those life promoting human abilities, i.e. sharing, caring and cooperating, and also align our educational system to the goal of flourishing within limits of planet, then, then we have a good chance of surviving, not in mayhem, but in prosperity. References and quotes